An older, provincial tanner can no longer compete with the large companies that have moved in and taken his customers away -- he is not able to modernize due to a lack of funding, and he feels inadequate when it comes to learning the new technology anyway. His plight is reflected in the lives of the other villagers as well, but it is also put in perspective when the traditionally gender-biased villagers mistreat women (a woman is raped in one scene so she will be forced to marry the man), or demonstrate their interest in self-image over truth, or reveal their inability to adapt to modern "capitalist" norms. These themes drive the plot from beginning to end.
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